Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Tate?

I have not really been asked this question much. Most of my friends are so delighted for me, that they haven't questioned why I chose to go with this publisher. The question I am most often asked is "how did you find them?". That is a much easier one to answer: "Through the web."

But I asked myself the "why Tate" question for several weeks.

When I first felt that I had a manuscript ready for submission (remember the 48,000 words?), I naively began to search for publishing companies to send it to. Tate was one of the first to "pop up" as a company who eagerly sought out new authors. They accepted finished and unfinished manuscripts for submission. Their only stipulation was no extreme language or sexual content. My manuscript didn't have either of those elements, so I thought I would submit to them, and see what happened.

That was in February.

In the meantime, I began doing more research, and read that having a literary agent was the way to go. Most publishers didn't accept nonpublished authors, and an agent would have the knowledge of the business to help me get to a publisher. So I began to investigate agents. The frustrating part of this was that different agents have different submission requirements. Some just wanted a query letter (another round of research on what that was ensued), others wanted the first few pages along with a synopsis of the book.

Let me pause here and say that I'd rather have a root canal than have to write another book synopsis. But I managed to spit one out, painfully.

I sent in submissions to seven different agents. Four responded with a very kind, "your book is not what we're looking for" rejection letter.

During all of this, remember that I was also adding to my manuscript and editing it daily.

I also received offers from Vanity Press and Dorrance Publishing, but upon further investigation, knew I did not want to go that way. These are publishing companies you pay to print your book. That's it...no marketing, no editing, no help.

I was trying to convince myself not to get discouraged. After all, many authors received many more rejection letters than I had. Friends were reading my book and loving it! I had a "waiting" list of people who wanted to read the rough draft. It had to be good, right?

Then one day, I received an email from Janey Hayes at Tate Publishing, congratulating me on being selected. They wanted to publish me! After my heart started beating again, I knew I would have to find out all I could about them before making my decision.

I began to read online chat threads with the subject "Tate Publishing". Tate didn't have a very good reputation with the 'watercooler talkers'. Basically the main complaint was that Tate asks for an author contribution (which cause traditional publishers to immediately cry "subsidy publisher" and "vanity press"). I will admit that the contribution was not a small one, and it was a concern for me. I began to weigh the pros and cons.

I was finally swayed to go with Tate because of three reasons:
1. Tate is a Christian company, has won awards for their service, has an A+ rating with the BBB, and was voted "the best place to work" in OK. (They couldn't be scam artists with those credentials.)
2. Along with the contribution Tate asks from its authors, it promises to contribute 5x's the amount of money. They also offer editing, cover design, and a market representative for the life of my book. Plus, once 5000 copies of my book are sold, I will receive a full reimbursement of my investment.
3. This was the chance of a lifetime. How many people can say that their dreams can come true with a "little money"? As my mother pointed out, if I let this opportunity pass by, in two years I would certainly look back with regret. I didn't want to live with a bunch of "what ifs".

So I bit the bullet, signed the contract, sent in the check, and this journey has been incredible so far!

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